PhD Studentship - Crowdsourcing User Requirements from Online Discussion Forums

Aston University - Engineering and Applied Science

Contract Type: Fixed Term (for 3 years)

Closing Date: 23.59 hours GMT on Tuesday 31 October 2017

Interview Date: To be confirmed

Applications are invited for a fully-funded three-year Aston University PhD studentship in Software Engineering. The student will be working within the Computer Science group in Aston University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science under the supervision of Professor Pete Sawyer. The successful applicant will join a small, world-leading team investigating the role of crowdsourcing in contemporary software development.

Financial Support

This studentship includes a fee bursary to cover the home/EU fees rate, plus a maintenance allowance of £14,553 in 2016/17 (subject to eligibility).

This application is only available to Home/EU students.

Background of the Project

Software product managers are making increasing use of social networking and crowdsourcing to identify new requirements, to prioritise new feature development and to get feedback on user acceptance. While users’ comments posted on (e.g.) Reddit or GoogleForums can be a valuable source of users’ creativity and insight, harvesting the information they contain poses some interesting challenges. In particular, the volume of user contributions typically requires automated help for product managers to process the information, yet the fact that the comments are invariably in unconstrained natural language makes the provision of automated help difficult. This project will investigate the use of Text Mining to provide support for product managers extracting information from user forums.

Person Specification

The successful applicant should have a first class or upper second class honours degree or equivalent qualification in Computer Science, Software Engineering or similar.

For informal enquiries about this project and other opportunities within the Systems Analytics Research Institute contact Professor Pete Sawyer

If you require further information about the application process please contact the Postgraduate Admissions team at

The online application form, reference forms and details of entry requirements, including English language are available here.

Applications should also be accompanied by a brief review (2 pages) of relevant research literature appropriate for this project area.

Details of how to write your project proposal are also included in the How to Apply section.

If you are interested in this position please apply via our website at:

Further particulars and application forms are available in alternative formats on request i.e. large print, Braille, tape or CD Rom.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact HR via

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